En route to a lunch meeting, walking briskly, you almost bump (literally!) into a woman headed in your direction. "Excuse me," you say, letting her pass realizing she's not just a woman, but also a very beautiful one. She's your type; brunette, athletic, light eyes, (at least, you said that was your type on your dating profile a few days ago). Well now she's in your eyesight. What're ya gonna do about it?
The synapses start firing, adrenaline is rushing, and your mind is screaming at you you, Talk to her! As you negotiate with yourself, she walks away — farther and farther away. Within moments she is gone forever. You let another one get away, man. Instead of talking to a woman that could potentially change your life, you're standing there alone. Well, not completely alone, your pride is with you like an old high school buddy.
Ready for a cold, hard dose of truth? Starting a conversation is simple. Find someone you want to talk with. Initiate dialogue in a language you both understand (this part is important). When you are done speaking to your chosen person, patiently wait for them to say their part. The conversation has started. When one of the involved parties stops talking, the conversation is over. That completes the technical training on how to start and end a conversation. Simple enough. So why is it so difficult to start conversations?
Cold, hard truth dose #2: Conversations are hard to initiate because we live in fear: "Is she attracted to me??, "I'm not her type", or "She doesn't have time for me. We often feel we aren't good enough: "Who am I to talk to her?" we say, when we should be saying, "Who am I NOT to talk to her?" You are good enough — and always have been! — but you have to believe it. We have amazing things to offer because we are amazing people. We need to own this, because when we do, we find new conversations are like talking to old friends: effortless and easy.
In my book Pray Your Kids Are Ugly, I talk about how we need to stop looking at people as strangers; instead viewing them as a friend we haven't yet met. You see someone as a stranger because a voice in your head tells you so, but really that stranger wants to laugh, cry, and love just like you. Just like me. It's a cliché for a reason: deep down, we all want the same things. The people we let slip away are the memories we never make. Fear allows this, but love doesn't.
Start a conversation by starting with honesty. There is no right or wrong way to go about this when the intent is genuine. Don't think of the perfect thing to say, because making the effort alone was perfect. You tried. You get rejected? So what. That's one less time you'll ever be rejected. Your pride will recover. In fact, we should be thankful for rejection. That's where we get our growth, wisdom, and confidence. Take a chance. Be silly, be kind, be vulnerable, be funny to "strangers", but most of all be… something.
Also, we view people through a selfish lens: "What can they do for me?", while really we should think of how we can be of service to other people. When we get out of our own heads and think of others, all of a sudden the right things to say come easy to us. Once we are available for other people, we are more available for ourselves, and don't have to think of what to say.
So how do you start a conversation? You just do. Do it. Know that every person wants the same thing you want: safety, love, and laughter. Give them that. Give yourself that. You can provide those things because you are those things. Talking to the person and getting rejected is a success. Standing on the corner asking "What if…?" is the only possible avenue for failure.
OK, back to the (beautiful!) lady on the street. Armed with all this new knowledge, would you say? What would you do? Remember, be honest, and be real. As she walks by you, say "Hey; I noticed we almost bumped into each other, but we didn't. Now I'm talking about it. And you're staring at me like 'What’s his point?'. I don't have a point. I just wanted to talk to you. You're beautiful. Hi… I'm…" and let the rest play out as it should. Don't think too hard. You want better results now, so live in the moment and stop putting undue pressure on yourself.
See, that was easy, wasn't it? If you get her number or even just her smile, it's a success. Let's remember the only thing lacking in any situation is what we haven't offered, so by starting a conversation through sincerity and being real, we offer what we also wanted to receive before we even started the conversation in the first place.
If you enjoyed this insight please check out my book "Pray Your Kids Are Ugly" which is a social look at online dating and the future of human interactions. Also, my website, OnlineDatingCritic.net has a lot of funny and honest insights you'll enjoy.
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